What is the Alexander Technique?
Mindfulness in Daily Life – Balance, Coordination, Comfort
Our bodies are designed to function with ease. Back strain, neck aches, knee-pain and other chronic pain-related results are typically caused not by what we do, but by how we go about it.
Picture a young child discovering how to walk – natural, bright, fully engaged and present. Whatever happened to that childhood ease and energy? It isn’t actually lost –we’ve just forgotten how to use it. The Alexander Technique teaches us how to get it back. No holding or straining, no “shoulders back,” no pulling, instead the Alexander Technique teaches how to set aside unhelpful habits of thought and movement, and make a fresh choice. The result is a surprising ease, lightness and lively presence in the way we move.
Antoinette Kranenburg, ATI is a certified Alexander Technique teacher since 1988. She focuses on injury prevention and recovery, dance and fitness, and physical challenges. You may visit her website at www.KensingtonAlexander.com.
There have been many studies on the Alexander Technique and here are a few videos and online links to help you learn more. The video below summarizes the results of a major back pain study published in the British Medical Journal in 2008. The study showed that the Alexander Technique was highly effective in treating back pain. There have more recently been follow-up studies that confirm this result.
There are many wonderful resources online that feature studies relating to Alexander Technique, balance, and older adults. One such website (https://alexandertechnique.co.uk) has consolidated many valuable links.
The improvement in balance, confidence and speed is evident in this video of older participants in a study, illustrating the before and after results after two weeks of a daily Alexander Technique group class:
Who is Alexander Technique for?
Alexander Technique is for someone who wants to get up without strain, for someone who want to improve a skill, for someone recovering from injury and wanting to prevent injury, for someone who desires to pick up their child without hurting, and for someone who sits much of the day.
The Alexander Technique typically improves balance, coordination, and comfort; increases confidence and engagement; and reduces stress. As a result, people enjoy their activities more, improve their performance and increase what they are able to do. The aim is for the students to learn how to access that ease on their own, and make use of it in their day-to-day activities.
Group class settings combine activities for everyone to try as a group, with individual attention given. Verbal and hands-on guidance are part of the teaching tools as well as “body mapping” to clear up some common confusion about anatomy that tend to interfere with strain free movement. The focus will be on common, everyday activities, such as getting up from sitting, sitting down, standing, walking, reaching, bending, carrying, lifting, and turning. Participants are encouraged to suggest activities that they would like to explore using the Alexander Technique. In a group class, participants learn from each other – from observing, exploring, questioning, and sharing different perspectives. For most people the class is enjoyable, interesting and very helpful.